Following months of appeasement of Turkey’s dictator Recep Erdogan, Europe has found itself surprised that as it yields to every incremental demand, Turkey simply asks for more and more. One such example was chronicled by the FT earlier today in “Turkey demands EU hands over €3bn for refugees” in which we read that “a row has erupted between Turkey and the EU over billions of pounds in aid for Syrian refugees, casting fresh doubt on a fragile deal to halt the flow of people towards Europe.”
Erdogan’s argument is that he want the money to be transferred over to him directly to dispense with as he pleases, while Europe insists that UN agencies oversee that the money be spent as designated for refugee needs, instead of funding another wing for Erdogan’s palace. Of course, the only reason why Erdogan is confident he has leverage is because Turkey is currently hosting over 3 million Syrian refugees that is holding back from flooding into Europe once more, potentially resulting in the most acute episode of Europe’s refugee crisis.
And to his credit, Erdogan has been successful in that, because as the following chart shows, for the first time since April 2015, more refugees arrived in Europe via Italy than on the path through Greece to the east. The flow of migrants through the Aegean Sea has waned since the European Union and Turkey struck a deal in March to send refugees back that arrive in Greece.
However, this potential onslaught of Europe-bound refugees is also Erdogan’s biggest trump card: should Europe deny anything Turkey wants, he will simply open the gates leading to spiraling political chaos of the type already seen in Austria and Germany where anti-immigrant parties have stormed higher in the political polls in recent months.
Confirming precisely that, was a warning by Burhan Kuzu, a high-ranking deputy for Turkey’s ruling AKP party and former adviser to President Erdogan, who said that Ankara will send migrants back to the EU if the European Parliament won’t grant visa-free travel to Turkish citizens. Kuzu made several statements on Twitter in anticipation of Wednesday’s session of European parliament, at which visa exemption for Turkish nationals in the Schengen zone, as part of a migrant deal between Brussels and Ankara, was to be discussed.
“The European Parliament will discuss the report that will open Europe visa-free for Turkish citizens. If the wrong decision is taken, we will unleash the refugees!” in what was an unmistakable threat.
He also told Bloomberg: “If Turkey’s doors are opened, Europe would be miserable.“
…Turkey’s clear rejection and insistence that it has all the required leverage, sets Europe and Turkey for what will be a dramatic showdown in which Turkey’s increasingly despotic dictator will either be appeased one more time, or his bluff will be called.
With Europe hit by the biggest migrant crisis in decades, the EU and Ankara signed the migrant deal back in March. According to the agreement, Turkey would take back refugees seeking asylum in the EU in exchange for a multi-billion euro aid package and some political concessions, including the visa-free regime.
If the deal falls apart, Turkey will surely flood millions more in refugees who will unleash far more political havoc across Europe, and certainly Germany, than Greece ever could.
Full article: Turkey Threatens Europe: “Unless Visas Are Removed, We Will Unleash The Refugees” (Zero Hedge)